What Is an Incidental Fee? 10+ Facts You Need To Know

Gratuities and other small costs paid in addition to the main service, product, or event are referred to as “incidental fees” and are accepted in the business world. Continue reading since it has all of the information you’ll need.

What Is an Incidental Fee?

Gratuities and other little payments or expenses incurred in addition to the major service, commodity, or event paid for are referred to as incidental fees or incidental costs.

When a person travels for work, they frequently suffer additional costs in addition to the standard transport, food, and accommodation fees.

What Is an Incidental Fee?

If an employee takes a cab from the airport to their hotel, they must pay for the cab journey, the hotel room, and, depending on local custom, they may also be required to tip the driver and hotel employees.

Hair cuts and toiletries are examples of “personal” costs since they are products or services that you would have required and paid for regardless of where you were.

Understanding Incidental Fees

An employee handbook will frequently explain company policies and procedures surrounding incidental expenses. The paper will define incidental expenditures, categorize them as business or personal, and set upper limitations for those costs.

Alternatively, a per diem payment might be established, with any excess expenditures being the responsibility of the worker. Before getting reimbursed, employees may be asked to pay for incidental items on their own or using a corporate credit card or petty cash.

The General Services Administration (GSA) establishes per diem rates for travel within the contiguous United States on an annual basis; the Department of Defense (DOD) establishes per diem rates for travel to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam; and the State Department establishes per diem rates for travel outside the United States and its territories.

What Is an Incidental Fee?

These guidelines should make it easier to keep track of various expenses for auditing and tax purposes. The employee who makes the purchase must retain a detailed record of the transaction.

Employees should put this information into an expense report and send it to their company, along with any applicable receipts.

Payments provided as reimbursements for employees’ out-of-pocket costs should be issued via separate checks to make it clear that these are not wage payments.

Example Of Incidental Fee

Most schools compel students to pay this fee in order to support numerous programs that might otherwise go unfunded. The funds raised might be used for things like counselling or testing to enhance people’s health.

A non-negligible fraction of the fee may also be used to support the costs of running the school’s recreation center and providing other services to students. There is no uniform standard for how much colleges charge, and each charges based on its own set of criteria and calculations.

Another prominent example of incidental expenditures is the fees that hotels charge in addition to their room prices. This type of tax is simple for hotels to apply because most now require visitors to pay with a credit card or debit card when making reservations.

In this case, the incidental fee is a hold on the guest’s card in the amount of the incidental charge, in addition to the standard deduction or payment for the stay.

As a result, the hotel will utilize the incidental fee as collateral with the guest’s bank to pay any costs incurred as a result of theft, damage, or other unanticipated occurrences that may occur during the guest’s stay.

If the guest’s stay goes off without a hitch, the bank will release the money and deposit them back into the guest’s account.

These fees are levied on customers by companies such as airlines and banks. The interest on such loans is the cost for banks to lend credit to customers.

Checked baggage fees and fees imposed when a passenger requests a change to the date or time of a previously scheduled journey are examples of this sort of expense that airlines charge their passengers.

Meals and Incidental Fee

Incidental costs are deductible up to the corresponding percentage limit when incurred and not reimbursed in the course of business travel, investment property, or medical, educational, or charitable activities that qualify for tax deductions.

What Is an Incidental Fee?

There are five methods for calculating meal and incidental expense (M&IE) costs:

  1. A method based on actual costs
  2. The Standard Meal Allotment Formula
  3. Travel expenditures were budgeted utilizing the Accountable Plan Method.
  4. The high-low method
  5. Using this method, payment is only made for unanticipated expenditures.

Whether or whether a certain technique is possible is entirely dependant on the facts of the situation. The first option, known as “real cost,” consists of just repaying your documented out-of-pocket travel expenditures. The following four techniques offer per-diem costs that incorporate all expenses.

The standard meal allowance payment includes not only food and drink, but also room service, washing, dry cleaning, pressing garments, as well as service fees and gratuities for waiters and bellhops.

The high-low per diem rate and the federal per diem rate, as determined by the Internal Revenue Service, encompass all accommodation, food, and incidentals.

When no meal costs are paid or incurred, and the standard meal allowance is not used, the incidental fees alone rate of $5 per day covers incidental charges.

What Is an Incidental Fee?

Fees and gratuities made to porters, luggage carriers, hotel workers, and ship crew are considered incidental costs for the purpose of the meal and incidental expenses (M&IE) deduction.

Laundry, dry cleaning, and pressing services, hotel taxes, phone calls, transportation to and from lodging and eating facilities, and the cost of turning in travel vouchers and paying employer-sponsored charge card bills are not considered incidental costs.

Tax Treatment of Incidentals

Depending on the nature of the spending and the particular taxpayer, indirect costs generated by businesses can be taxed in a variety of ways

Incidental business expenditures may be deducted if they are reasonable in both amount and local custom, and if they are incidental to other fees that are regular and necessary for the taxpayer’s trade or profession.

Business Gifts

When a company provides freebies to its customers, it may incur additional costs in addition to the cost of the gift. Wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, and delivery will increase the overall cost of a business’s gifts.

Deductibility of Business Gifts

The overall cost of a business present is not deducted if the expenditure of wrapping, engraving, packaging, shipping, insuring, or otherwise distributing the gift does not considerably improve its worth to the receiver.

Given the yearly $25 restriction on tax deductions for gifts provided by a company to each of its workers, this is fantastic news. A gift to a recipient cannot cost more than $25.

Casualty or Theft

When a company experiences a business disaster or theft, it frequently incurs extra expenditures in excess of the replacement value of its damaged or stolen assets.

What Is an Incidental Fee?

The owner of a factory that burns down is responsible for the costs of repairing or moving the facility, as well as any other incidental costs, such as staff medical care, storage, or relocation, and maybe even temporary production space.

Deductibility of Casualty or Theft

Expenses incurred as a consequence of a casualty or theft but not directly linked to property loss or damage, such as medical care for injuries, temporary housing, gasoline, moving costs, or leases for temporary living quarters, are not deductible.

National Guard and Reserve Travel

Members of the National Guard and Reserve who travel more than 100 miles and must remain overnight to attend Guard or Reserve meetings are eligible to an above-the-line deduction from their gross income for food, lodging, and incidental expenditures at the federal per diem rate.

Tax Return Forms for Incidentals

Employees deduct travel expenditures on Schedule A of Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ as job-related fees and miscellaneous itemized deductions up to 2% of AGI.

Members of the National Guard and Reserve can deduct the expense of their 100-mile round trip as an itemized deduction on Form 1040, Line 24.

Sole proprietors can deduct any business travel costs on Schedule C of their 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ tax forms. Companies, depending on their business type, can deduct business travel costs on Form 1120, 1120S, or 1065.

Incidentals FAQs

How Much Do Hotels Hold on a Credit Card for Incidentals?

Most hotels will additionally hold an additional $50 to $200 per night on your credit card as a security deposit in case of any unanticipated charges. Your credit card hold will be lifted within 24 hours of your departure from the hotel. Credit card holds have no effect on credit utilization; only the final transaction does.

How Much Money Should I Budget for Incidentals on a Vacation?

The General Services Administration is a federal government entity in the United States that produces a location-specific travel cost guide for federal employees. Private enterprises are not required to follow this handbook.

What Is an Incidental Fee?

What Are Incidental Fees in Construction?

Unexpected incidents are common in the construction industry. These include the purchase of land, site grading or improvement, original furnishings, equipment, machinery, or apparatus, professional design or legal fees, insurance during construction, and general administrative expenditures.


In the case of a predicted deficit in payment for a service, an incidental fee may be collected by some organizations as a manner of financing specialized services, or as an automatic payment that is charged to students at some universities.

Students are expected to pay this type of fee in addition to their usual tuition, and it may be used by the school for a number of purposes. The fee may also be added to the total amount paid by the consumer for other services.

5/5 - (1 vote)
Pat Moriarty
Follow me

Leave a Comment